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    HEARD AROUND TOWN

    Keeping an open and honest dialogue between our school district and the community is our top priority and a necessity to ensure the continued success of Strongsville City Schools.  The goal of our "Heard Around Town" page is to respond to misconceptions in the community about our school district.  If you have heard something about Strongsville City Schools that you would like to clarify or need more information about, click HERE to submit and an answer will be provided below.  This page will be updated every Monday with new submissions being added to the top.


    HEARD AROUND TOWN:

    Is it true that the school district is rezoning schools due to enrollment.  Some schools seem at or near capacity. When will this be happening?

    RESPONSE:

    As a part of our Strong Schools 2020 plan, we will be studying our enrollment trends in conjunction with our current elementary school boundaries. Based on the results of this study, we will determine if changes need to occur to our elementary boundaries.  If it is determined that changes are needed, they would not be implemented until August 2021 or later.


    HEARD AROUND TOWN:

    Recently heard that the Strongsville High School football team received three different uniforms for this season, one only to be used for one game, provided by and funded by the school district.  If this was funded by the district, will the same amount of funds be allocated to all other school organizations such as other athletic teams and the Marching Band?

    RESPONSE:

    No football jerseys were purchased with District funds. The football team did receive one set of new jerseys this season, which were paid for by the proceeds from their annual spring mulch fundraiser. The camouflage jerseys that the team wore for our recent Military Appreciation Night (Sept. 20th vs. Shaker Hts.) were donated by the Ohio National Guard for that game only, as part of a state-wide promotion. Those jerseys were returned to the sponsor.


    HEARD AROUND TOWN:

    What are they doing at the old Albion Middle School property?

    RESPONSE:

    If you have driven past the former Albion Middle School property, you may have noticed some activity.  We have collaborated with the company who has been awarded the Sprague Road project, allowing them to use portions of the property to dump their clean fill.  The benefits are that (1) there is no cost to the district, (2) it is in coordination with the city to ensure there will be no issues with water flow/drainage, and (3) we will significantly expand the usable space as the fill dirt will create a level surface for nearly the entire property.  The clean fill will be compacted and seeded at the end of the project leaving a great spot for community sports and future district use.


    HEARD AROUND TOWN:

    I have heard around town that the people are unhappy that the Superintendent received a hefty raise after acquiring his PhD and another yearly raise, as did all people in leadership positions get a raise. While they are making cut backs even though the levy passed. Now people feel it would have been honorable for them to say that since the school is having financial trouble that they would decline their pay raises, but that did not happen. I hear that people won't be passing any new levy's because of their actions. They feel that they have been lied to. 

    RESPONSE:

    There have been no lies and the plan for reductions and/or compensation has been implemented as it has been communicated.  Since the Superintendent’s first contract with the district in 2015, there was a stipulation in his contract that he would receive an increase in salary with the successful completion of a doctoral degree.  This affords the Superintendent equitable treatment as compared to all certified staff, as all other administrators and teachers are eligible to receive a salary increase with the successful completion of a doctoral degree.  Furthermore, all employee groups - teachers, support staff, administrators, leadership, Superintendent, and Treasurer - received the same cost of living increase for the 2019-20 school year. Phase I reductions were implemented as presented.  Phase II reductions, which included pay freezes for the Superintendent, Treasurer, and all administrative and leadership staff was in Phase II.  Since the levy passed in May, no Phase II reductions have been implemented. The district followed the plan as it had been communicated with the community.


    HEARD AROUND TOWN:

    Is there a Mustang Stampede race for the elementary kids? If so, where can I find information about it?

    RESPONSE:

    There will be a "fun run" for elementary students on Saturday, September 21 at 8:45am. The event will be held at Strongsville High School and is FREE for Strongsville students in grades K-6. Check-in/registration will be at 8:30am at Pat Catan Stadium. All participants and their families are encouraged to stay after the event and cheer on the high school boys and girls cross country teams as they compete against several local schools in the annual Strongsville Cross Country Invitational. HERE is the event flyer.


    HEARD AROUND TOWN:

    The Polaris seniors are being dropped off at the middle school. Is this true and how will they get transported to the high school if they do not drive?

    RESPONSE:

    It is true.  Since the opening of the new middle school in 2016, Polaris students have been transported to the middle school at the end of the school day. Students then board buses at SMS and are transported home directly from the middle school. 


    HEARD AROUND TOWN:

    What is the deal with the football backers buying all the car raffle tickets so families can “focus on the Mustang Stampede”?  What does one thing (car raffle) have to do with the other (stampede)? I thought the car raffle was funding the turf? Has the turf even been paid for yet?

    RESPONSE:

    Each year, Serpentini Chevrolet donates a car to the district to be used to raise funds for the SHS and SMS turf project.  This is a component of the sponsorship agreement with Serpentini, which allocates a minimum of $20,000 per year to the turf fund based on the proceeds from the car raffle.  A few years ago, the Athletic Boosters took over the car raffle. All athletic teams work to support the car raffle by selling $20 tickets. From the sale of the $20 tickets, $10 goes to the turf fund and $10 goes to the team in which the athlete participates.  The turf was initially paid for with Bond dollars. The private and corporate dollars raised, such as the sponsorship agreement with Serpentini Chevrolet, pays back the Bond fund over the agreed upon period of time. As the Strongsville Football Backers is a community group (not a school district group), questions regarding how the Strongsville Football Backers are supporting the car raffle should be directed to the leadership of the football backers. 


    HEARD AROUND TOWN:

    Will there be some leniency on tardiness at the Middle School due to the construction at Pearl and Royalton Roads?

    RESPONSE:

    Yes.  We will work with our students and families as we adjust to the traffic delays that are likely to occur due to the crosswalk project at the 42/82 intersection.  However, we ask all families to plan accordingly and adjust their departure time from home to ensure that students are at school and ready to learn for the start of the school day.


    HEARD AROUND TOWN:

    With the passing of the levy, we’ve been eagerly awaiting information on the choir departments biennial trip to New York. The 2020 graduating senior class is eagerly awaiting information for this trip. Much to our dismay, rumor has it the response from the district was the choir department should do this every 3 years like the band department trip. Please reconsider your decision. We residents passed this levy to better our school district, the parents pay for our children to go, and there was no prior notification that this would never happen for the students. Perhaps allow this trip and the say the next one will be in three years. Very disappointed to hear this is being taken away without any prior warning and no apology to the students affected who’ve looked forward to this for the last two years.

     RESPONSE:

    A few years ago, the Strongsville High School music department made the decision that choir, orchestra, and band would each follow the guideline of planning out-of-state trips every three years. This decision allows Directors and families to properly plan and budget for the trips, encourages more students to attend/experience the trips, and establishes manageable fundraising expectations for families, our community, and our Booster groups.  Each music group is committed to making these out-of-state opportunities for our students meaningful learning experiences, while balancing the financial obligations that are necessary for participating families. We regret if this decision was not communicated to students and families at the time it was made. Note: The decision by the music department was made prior to any levy being put on the ballot and is not related to the passage of the levy.


    HEARD AROUND TOWN:

    This was posted on the Strongsville High School page. Please respond because all parents would like an answer.

    I sent this email to the BOE last winter and got no response.   I believe 20% midterm and final grades punish good students. I have researched how other districts handle their midterm and final exam weighting.   It is my belief that our students would be better served by following the examples set by St. Edward High School, Brunswick High School, and Solon High School.  

    St. Edwards:  Students with an “A” entering midterms and finals do not need to take the final or midterm.

    Brunswick: Year long classes:  Each quarter is worth 20%.  Midterm, final exams are worth 10% each.  Semester classes: Each quarter worth 40%, Semester exam worth 20%.  

    Solon:  Year long classes:  Each quarter is worth 23%.   Midterms, Finals are worth 8%.   Semester classes: Each quarter is worth 50%.

    By reducing the weight of the final and midterm exams to 10% instead of 20%, we would lend that much more gravitas to the student’s in class work.   It would stop penalizing children who take departmentalized tests that their own teacher may or may not have covered in full in class. It would allow grades to be more reflective of the student’s in class performance.

    I urge the school board to consider changing the exam weighting at Strongsville High School to better serve the students.

    RESPONSE:

    As a school district, we are always looking at our policies and procedures to ensure they are in line with comparable districts.  Here is a screenshot from the Strongsville student handbook detailing how final grades are calculated through the 40-40-20 methodology.  In reference to the suggestion that we adopt the “Brunswick model” of 20-20-10 versus our 40-40-20, mathematically it is the same methodology and will result in the same final grade.  We also compare our methodology to other districts. You can click here to see a sample of the weighting systems used by other districts.  There will always be differences, but as you can see, Strongsville’s system aligns with the majority of the school districts that responded.  At this point in time, we believe our methodology for weighting semester grades is comparable to other school districts and in the best interest of our grade calculations at the high school level.  The high school is working to finalize an exam exemption option and will communicate that to parents once finalized.


    HEARD AROUND TOWN:

    Mr. Deitrick and Mr. Vukovich will not be back next year at the middle school.  Is that true? Who will be taking their places?

    RESPONSE:

    That is true.  Mr. Deitrick has resigned to take a position closer to home.  Mr. Vukovich has retired. The district has posted the SMS Principal position and will be working in the coming weeks to hire a new principal.  Former Muraski Principal, Mrs. Peters, has been transferred to SMS to take Mr. Vukovich’s spot as Assistant Principal.